Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) was founded in 2007 by a group of friends who shared the same passion for conservation. We began as a non-profit organization and were awarded UK charity status in August of 2009 (Registered Charity number 1131122). In 2014 we expanded with a Peruvian branch and again in 2016 and 2021, opening branches in Colombia and Argentina.
NPC was set up in order to promote the conservation of Neotropical forest habitat and wildlife through various means. These include: land protection, research, improvement of degraded habitat for wildlife, creation of public awareness, and facilitation of the commercialisation of sustainable, ecological products on behalf of local people. Since 2007 NPC has been using primates as “flagship species” for community conservation projects.
We aim to create private and community-run reserves that will protect major areas of the natural biological corridors connecting existing protected areas. This will ensure long term habitat protection for our flagship species and all wildlife that shares their habitats. Through this work we help local communities strengthen their stewardship of nature as well as protect their traditional and cultural identities, benefiting both humans and the environment. To this end, we run many low-cost projects that have already proven successful, and we use our experiences to promote efficient conservation globally.
– NPC Team
There are 178 species (218 taxa including sub-species) of monkey in South and Central America, by far the most of any of the world’s continents. They are called “Neotropical Primates”, meaning: monkeys of the new world tropics.
Neotropical monkeys are made up of a diverse array of species from the tiny pygmy marmoset of the central Amazon (which weighs about 100 grams) to the woolly spider monkey of south eastern Brazil (which can weigh as much as 15 kg). Primates have complex social structures; some species are monogamous with up to five members of a close family living in a single group, like the owl monkeys and titi monkeys. Some species live in groups of up to a hundred individuals like the squirrel monkeys and the red uakari. Their diets vary as well; different species eat anything from fruits, leaves, insects, lizards, to tree gum, and even soil, and some species eat smaller mammals, birds, and reptiles when they can catch them. Most, if not all species, eat a mixture of all these. Among the neotropical primates are the family Atelidae, the only monkeys to have fully prehensile tails. They can use their tails as a fifth limb to hang from branches, manipulate fruit, and even to hug each other.
In the Neotropics, primates are widely distributed from Mexico in the north of Argentina in the South, and from the pacific coast of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, across to the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Different species can be found inhabiting lowland flooded rainforests of the Amazon, up to above 3,000 meters in the Andes mountains, and hyper-humid cloud forests, as well as arid dry forest environments. Although their natural habitat is primary forests, many species are now found surviving in degraded ecosystems of fragmented habitat, and even within plantations and cities.
Monkeys are crucial for the health of the forest by acting as seed dispersers for the trees and plants. They also play a significant role in the circle of life of the rainforest by being both prey and predator for many other species (including local human communities), helping to maintain balance in forest ecosystems which allows them to keep functioning.
Many primates are facing a very real danger of extinction in the near future, including almost half of all Neotropical species. The main threats to primates are the loss of habitat through deforestation as well as hunting for the pet trade and bushmeat. These threats are caused by un-sustainable practices both locally and globally and will only worsen unless we all take action to safeguard their future.
Conservation of primates and their habitats is taking place all over the world but the destruction of the rainforests is happening more rapidly than conservationists can cope with. More and more species are threatened and being driven to extinction.
To find out more about Neotropical primates and what we do follow the links below.
Read all about our activities in Peru !
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Read all about our activities in Colombia !
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Read all about our activities in Argentina !
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In the UK we participate in events, campaign for the protection of primates, and fundraise.
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